Senator Mike Cunningham

Imagine putting on a jacket you haven’t worn for a while and discovering a $20 bill in the pocket. Or, perhaps you’ve lifted up a seat cushion and spied a long-lost piece of jewelry underneath. Who doesn’t love finding unexpected treasure?

Recovering money or valuables you didn’t even know were lost is just a click away at the Missouri state treasurer’s website. Every year, financial institutions, government agencies and other organizations transfer unclaimed property to the state treasurer’s office. In some cases, the transfer is little more than pennies left in a dormant bank account. In other cases, it’s a large sum of money due as part of an inheritance or valuable heirlooms long-forgotten in a safe deposit box. Missouri’s chief financial officer holds onto these abandoned valuables and attempts to reconnect them with the rightful owners.

One in 10 Missourians has something of value held by the state treasurer. Currently, the treasurer maintains 4.7 million accounts of unclaimed property, with a total value of nearly $1 billion. To see if unclaimed property is held in your name, log onto www.ShowMeMoney.com, or visit the treasurer’s website at https://treasurer.mo.gov and look for the “Unclaimed Property” search tool at the top of the page.

Enter your name into the search tool to see a list of properties you may recover. You can also search another person’s name for accounts that you may be entitled to claim as part of an estate. The website will show the last known address for the holder of property, as well as the approximate value of the item or account. An online form allows property owners to verify their identity and file a claim. Applicants can either request the return of the unclaimed property or donate it to charity. The whole process takes just a few minutes and is easy to navigate.

The treasurer’s office receives new property constantly, so you may want to check back from time to time to see if a new account has been established in your name. You can also register to receive e-mail notifications of any new listings in your name.

Some of the more interesting items of unclaimed property the treasurer collects are recovered from safe deposit boxes at banks. Jewelry, cash, savings bonds, family photographs, historical documents and many other items are turned over to the state when safe deposit boxes are abandoned. These items are held by the treasurer’s office for a number of years and eventually sent to auction if no one comes forward to claim them. Proceeds from these auctions are retained in the original owner’s name and can be claimed later.

One type of recovered property is never auctioned however. The treasurer will never sell military medals, insignia or awards. Photographs of recovered military items, along with the last known address of the person who rented the safe deposit box where they were found, are shown on the treasurer’s website. The gallery of photographs is searchable by name, city or county.

Many of us dream of receiving an inheritance from a long-lost relative or digging up buried treasure. While such windfalls are unlikely, it is possible that you are entitled to valuable property that is waiting to be discovered on the state treasurer’s website. It only takes a few minutes to check. You might as well look. It could be your lucky day.

It is my great honor to represent the citizens of the 33rd Senatorial District. Although the Legislature has adjourned for 2019, I remain your senator throughout the year. If there’s anything that I can do to assist you, please feel free to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.